American Rescue Plan Grants for Cultural Institutions

(Information updated 5/13/21)

American Rescue Plan Grants

Kentucky Humanities has received funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to assist humanities organizations and other cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus pandemic as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) approved by U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden.

Kentucky Humanities will provide recovery funding to museums, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

What is the purpose of the funds?

The primary purpose of ARP funding is to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.

The following activities are activities that can be supported with ARP subawards:

  • Humanities programming
  • General Operating costs of humanities focused organizations
  • Strategic planning and capacity building efforts related to preparing, responding to, and recovering from the coronavirus
  • Technical/consultant needs related to a digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs (equipment costs cannot exceed 20% of a subaward)
  • Expansion, due to the effects of the coronavirus, of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and engagement or similar activities to transition from traditional environments to those that are more accessible
  • Equity assessments and planning related to coronavirus and the economic crisis

Who is eligible?

To apply for an American Rescue Plan grant, non-profit cultural organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a recognized 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service prior to the application deadline
  • Have a primary mission that is humanities focused
  • Offer humanities programs that are accessible to Kentuckians and open to the public
  • Have a primary business address is in Kentucky
  • Have a unique entity identifier (currently a D-U-N-S number)
  • Have not been suspended or debarred
  • Are not delinquent on federal debt

Who is not eligible?

The following organizations are not eligible to apply for an American Rescue Plan grant:

  • Institutions of higher education or individual departments of colleges and universities
  • Public libraries
  • Religious or primarily faith-based programs or organizations receiving a significant portion of their funding from a religious organization
  • Government agencies or institutions
  • Public, private, or parochial schools
  • For-profit organizations
  • Individuals
  • Nonprofit charitable organizations designed as private foundations by the Internal Revenue Service

However, museums, archives, university presses, and public-facing cultural organizations affiliated with a college or university may apply for ARP grants.

Organizations whose mission falls outside the humanities and humanistic social sciences are not eligible to receive funding for general operating costs under the ARP awards. They would be eligible for specific humanities related programming needs.

What are the humanities?

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”

--National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

Public libraries and arts organizations

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included federal funding for numerous agencies across Kentucky including the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. To ensure that this funding is distributed equitably, public libraries and arts-specific organizations should apply directly to those respective agencies for ARP funding.

Funding amount

Grants will range from $2,000 - $20,000. Applicant must demonstrate the need and submit a reasonable budget for the requested grant amount.

What’s the deadline to apply?

The deadline for applications is June 18, 2021. Priority will be given to the applications received by this date. Applications received by June 18 will be reviewed in July and awarded soon after our review. However, we will continue to accept applications until funding is exhausted. All grants must be awarded by November 30, 2021.

When must grant funds be used?

Grant activities must start no later than December 1, 2021 and must end no later than November 30, 2022. Activities can begin as soon as the grant is awarded.

Funds may not be used for the following:

  • Unallowable expenses as defined in 2 CRF 200 Subpart E – Cost Principles
  • Overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards
  • Fund for activities supported by other non-NEH federal funds
  • Competitive regranting
  • Cancellation costs
  • Pre-award costs dating before March 15, 2021
  • Equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs
  • Travel (both foreign and domestic)
  • Construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Collection acquisition
  • The preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming
  • Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
  • Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
  • Support of specific public policies or legislation
  • Lobbying
  • Projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies)

How do I apply?

  1. Carefully review the program guidelines on this page
  2. Verify that you have an active D-U-N-S number
  3. Complete the online application below by the deadline date
  4. Submit all necessary attachments to the application.

If I receive a grant, what are my responsibilities?

  • Sign a grant award letter
  • Complete the activities you outlined in your grant application within the grant period
  • Send a letter to both Senators and the member of Congress in your organization’s district thanking them for their support
  • Acknowledge Kentucky Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities in all public communications
  • Submit a final report no later than 90 days following your grant end date.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel and awarded are based on available funds. Applicants will be notified via email of the application award status.

How will grant applications be evaluated?

The grant review committee will read and score applications on the following criteria:

  • Organization meets basic requirements to apply (D-U-N-S #, not for profit organization, Kentucky organization) - 5 points
  • Organization has expressed a clear, easily understood case for need created specifically by COVID - 25 points
  • Organization has expressed a clear plan of how they will use these grant funds - 15 points
  • Organization has established track record of commitment to the humanities. Published mission indicates they are a humanities organization. - 25 points
  • Organization clearly describes DEI initiatives and helps Kentucky Humanities with outreach in underserved areas and constituencies of the Commonwealth - 25 points
  • Organization has other circumstances that need to be considered in providing funding. - 5 points

If I have questions, who can help me?

Kathleen Pool

Associate Director and Grants Officer



For a printable copy of this information or to download these files:


Application (Just for reading purposes, application must be submitted via the form below)

Budget Form

Attachment 1

American Rescue Plan Grant


Application for American Rescue Plan grant for humanities organizations and other cultural organizations

This grant application is to be used by humanities organizations and other nonprofit cultural organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic to apply for a grant from Kentucky Humanities. This grant will provide recovery funding to museums, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

All grantees must have a D-U-N-S number in order to be eligible to receive federal funds. The National Endowment for the Humanities is waiving the requirement of being registered in SAM for these grants only but prefers that your organization is registered. Please start this process as soon as you can.
Four additional documents are needed to support your application: 1. statement of revenue/other support, expenses, change in net assets, and audience reached for 2019, 2020, and 2021; 2. signed w-9 form;  3. organization's most recent audit report or IRS form 990 (preferable for fiscal year 2020) and 4. grant budget.  At the end of the online application you can upload these documents prior to submitting your application. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to go back into the application and make changes or add attachments. After submitting your application, if you did not attach these documents, you can email them to or mail them to Kentucky Humanities at 206 E. Maxwell St., Lexington, KY 40508. All materials should be received by June 18, 2021.
Full-time equivalent: at least one staff or contract person that is paid for 40 hours per week; or two staff paid 20-hours per week.
Grants will range from $2,000 - $20,000.

This is the person on record that is responsible for the overall management of the grant. This person will receive the grant award notice, will complete the final project director's report, and will be the primary person that Kentucky Humanities communica
This is the person that is designated by the organization to enter into grant agreements for the organization.
This is the person that will be responsible for the financial reports on this grant. The Fiscal Officer and the Project Director must be two different people.
Please indicate as follows: full-time - XX employees, part-time - XX employees
Please provide the monthly average in 2021.
Please describe how your operations changed because of COVID. Have you reduced staff, operating hours, in-person events, etc. How have you adapted?
List name of the source(s) and the amount received/pledged. Please include funds/pledges confirmed or applied for to date from private donors, foundations, government agencies, etc.
Additional attachments to support your online application
Organizations applying for American Rescue Plan grant should upload the required attachments or mail a copy to our office prior to June 18, 2021. Our mailing address is
Kentucky Humanities
206 E. Maxwell St.
Lexington, KY 40508.
If you prefer, attachments can be emailed to
Attachments include: 

Once you submit your online application, you will receive a message that says "Someone will be in touch with you shortly." This message is an indication that your submission was successful. Kentucky Humanities staff will begin processing applications immediately and assign your proposal a grant number and confirm all the necessary attachments are received. Grants will be reviewed as quickly as possible after the June 18 deadline by our grant review committee. If we have any questions about your proposal, we will be in touch.
You will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline date if your application was approved. You will also be notified if your application is not approved.
Please feel free to call Kathleen Pool at 859/257-5472 or email at if you have any questions.